Year 1502 (MDII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.
- January 1 – Portuguese explorers, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral, sail into Guanabara Bay, Brazil, mistaking it for the mouth of a river, which they name Rio de Janeiro.
- February 12 – Isabella I issued an edict outlawing Islam in the Crown of Castile, forcing virtually all her Muslim subjects to convert to Christianity.
- May 3 – Portuguese navigator João da Nova discovers the uninhabited island of Saint Helena.
- May 11 – Christopher Columbus leaves Cadiz, Spain for his fourth and final trip to the New World. He explores Central America, and discovers St. Lucia (possibly), the Isthmus of Panama, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
- The first African slaves brought to the New World arrive at the island of Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti and Dominican Republic).
- Bristol merchants return from Newfoundland (first so named this year from a letter) to England, carrying three native people and cod from the Grand Banks.
- Moctezuma II is elected emperor of the Aztecs, following the death of Ahuitzotl.
- Meñli I Giray defeats the Golden Horde and sacks their capital, Sarai.
- Wittenberg University is founded.
- In Germany, Peter Henlein of Nuremberg uses iron parts and coiled springs to build a portable timepiece.
- In Italy, Asher Lämmlein declares that the Jewish Messiah will arrive in the next 6 months, resulting in the year of penance.
- The King's School, Macclesfield, England, is founded by Sir John Percyvale.
- Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa receives the degree of magister artium from the University of Cologne.
- Wilhelm Bombast moves to Villach with his son, Paracelsus.
- January 7 – Pope Gregory XIII, born Ugo Boncompagni, Bolognese-born pontiff (d. 1585)
- January 20 – Sebastian de Aparicio, Spanish colonial industrialist and saint in Mexico (d. 1600)
- February 2 – Damião de Góis, Portuguese philosopher (d. 1574)
- March 4 – Elisabeth of Hesse, Hereditary Princess of Saxony (d. 1557)
- March 18 – Philibert of Chalon, French nobleman (d. 1530)
- March 20 – Pierino Belli, Italian soldier and jurist (d. 1575)
- April 2 – Susanna of Bavaria, German noble of the House of Wittelsbach (d. 1543)
- April 10 – Otto Henry, Count Palatine of Neuburg (1505–1559) and Elector Palatine (1556–1559) (d. 1559)
- April 25 – Georg Major, German Lutheran theologian (d. 1574)
- June 2 – Guillaume Bigot, French writer (d. 1550)
- June 7 – King John III of Portugal (d. 1557)
- July 26 – Christian Egenolff, German printer (d. 1555)
- July 27 – Francesco Corteccia, Italian composer (d. 1571)
- August 14 – Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Flemish painter (d. 1550)
- September 14 – Louis II, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, Duke of Zweibrücken from 1514 to 1532 (d. 1532)
- December 6 – Anna of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Duchess consort of Pomerania (d. 1568)
- December 13 – George III, Landgrave of Leuchtenberg (d. 1555)
- date unknown
- February 18 – Hedwig Jagiellon, Duchess of Bavaria (b. 1457)
- March – Francesco Laurana, Dalmatian-born sculptor (b. c. 1430)
- March 2 – Jan I Carondelet, Burgundian jurist and politician (b. 1428)
- April 2 – Arthur, Prince of Wales, English prince, eldest son of Henry VII of England (b. 1486)
- April 15 – John IV of Chalon-Arlay, Prince of Orange (1475–1502) (b. 1443)
- April 20 – Maria of Loon-Heinsberg, Dutch noble (b. 1426)
- May 4 – Berthold II of Landsberg, Bishop of Verden (1470–1502) and Hildesheim (1481–1502) (b. 1464)
- May 6 – James Tyrrell, English knight, alleged murderer of the princes in the Tower (executed) (b. c. 1450)
- June 9 – Astorre III Manfredi, Italian noble (b. 1485)
- ^ The traditional May 21 date is the Protestant feast day for Saint Helena (empress) and would not have been marked this day by the Portuguese because they were members of the Catholic Church and also because the island was discovered before the Reformation started. The discovery date is quoted as 3 May during the 16th/17th centuries, corresponding to the Catholic Feast day of the True Cross, a date that is closely linked to the name of Saint Helena. Bruce, Ian (2015). "St Helena Day" (PDF). Wirebird: The Journal of the Friends of St Helena (44): 32–46.
- ^ "History of St. Lucia". Retrieved May 6, 2011.
- ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica: Micropædia, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1991, ISBN 978-0-85229-529-8, p. 295.
- ^ Fabyan, Robert (1516). The New Chronicles of England and France.
- ^ Nansen, Fridtjof. In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times.
- ^ Valente, Michaela (2006). "Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius". In Hanegraaff, Wouter J. Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism. Leiden: Brill. pp. 4–8. ISBN 90-04-15231-8.
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